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Volunteers work to bridge food insecurity gap in Bainbridge area

Decatur County schools has been sending children home with food each week for the past decade.
Posted at 6:29 PM, Oct 16, 2023
and last updated 2023-10-16 18:29:58-04
  • The northeast quarter of Bainbridge lacks easy access to quality food.
  • Volunteers are working to keep students fed even when they're not in school.
  • Watch the video above to see how it works.


Local leaders tell me the number of soup kitchens and community pantries remain at a stand still while the number of residents in need of food continues to grow.

I joined a few volunteers to talk about food insecurity among Decatur County children.

These bags may look small, but they're making a big impact in Decatur County Schools.

“You have a background in psychology right?” said WTXL reporter AJ Douglas.

"Yes,” said Stephanie Poitevint, psychologist with Decatur county Schools.

"Do you believe that hunger can impact a student while they're in school trying to learn?"

Stephanie Poitevint, Psychologist, Decatur County Schools said, "Absolutely."

Poitevant has been with the school system for 23 years. She's seen a lot of needs come and go here.

She tells me the district has been sending students in need of food over the weekends home with bags of food.

These bags are added to  backpacks before they head home each week.

Filled with things like soup, apples and granola bars.

"Sometimes throughout the year the service club actually donates peanut butter," Said Poitevint.

I checked with the US Department of Agriculture.

Their food access research atlas shows the northeast corner of town is a low-income census tract.

That means a significant share of neighbors is more than 1 mile in urban areas or 10 miles in rural areas from the nearest supermarket.

Family Connections, a county run agency, helps fill that need.

Normally volunteers come on Tuesdays to pack the bags.

They are later delivered by three Bainbridge High School students to West Bainbridge, Jones Wheat and Hutto primary schools each Friday.

This week volunteers are working a day earlier so food can be delivered prior to fall break.

Why is it important for these bags to be made right before fall break?

Stephanie Poitevint, Psychologist, Decatur County Schools said, "our children will get breakfast and lunch at school. We want to make sure we send home food that they have for the rest of the week if they don't have food,” said Poitevint.

Anyone interested in volunteering to pack bags of food Tuesday at 3 o'clock each week can reach out to Poitevint by contacting Decatur County Schools.